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Neuroscience. 1997 Apr;77(4):1003-19.

In contrast to kindled seizures, the frequency of spontaneous epilepsy in the limbic status model correlates with greater aberrant fascia dentata excitatory and inhibitory axon sprouting, and increased staining for N-methyl-D-aspartate, AMPA and GABA(A) receptors.

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Department of Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles 90095-1769, USA.


This study determined whether there were differences in hippocampal neuron loss and synaptic plasticity by comparing rats with spontaneous epilepsy after limbic status epilepticus and animals with a similar frequency of kindled seizures. At the University of Virginia, Sprague-Dawley rats were implanted with bilateral ventral hippocampal electrodes and treated as follows; no stimulation (electrode controls; n=5): hippocampal stimulation without status (stimulation controls; n=5); and limbic status from continuous hippocampal stimulation (n=12). The limbic status group were electrographically monitored for a minimum of four weeks. Four rats had no recorded chronic seizures (status controls), and all three control groups showed no differences in hippocampal pathology and were therefore incorporated into a single group (controls). Eight limbic status animals eventually developed chronic epilepsy (spontaneous seizures) and an additional eight rats were kindled to a similar number and frequency of stage 5 seizures (kindled) as the spontaneous seizures group. At the University of California (UCLA) the hippocampi were processed for: (i) Niss1 stain for densitometric neuron counts; (ii) neo-Timm's histochemistry for mossy fiber sprouting; and (iii) immunocytochemical staining for glutamate decarboxylase, N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit 2, AMPA receptor subunit 1 and the GABA(A) receptor. In the fascia dentata inner and outer molecular layers the neo-Timm's stain and immunoreactivity was quantified as gray values using computer image analysis techniques. Statistically significant results (P<0.05) showed the following. Compared to controls and kindled animals, rats with spontaneous seizures had: (i) lower neuron counts for the fascia dentata hilus, CA3 and CA1 stratum pyramidale; (ii) greater supragranular inner molecular layer mossy fiber staining; and (iii) greater glutamate decarboxylase immunoreactivity in both molecular layers. Greater supragranular excitatory mossy fiber and GABAergic axon sprouting correlated with: (i) increases in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit 2 inner molecular layer staining; (ii) more AMPA receptor subunit 1 immunoreactivity in both molecular layers; and (iii) greater outer than inner molecular layer GABA(A) immunoreactivity. Furthermore, in contrast to kindled animals, rats with spontaneous seizures showed that increasing seizure frequency per week and the total number of natural seizures positively correlated with greater Timm's and GABAergic axon sprouting, and with increases in N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit 2 and AMPA receptor subunit 1 receptor staining. In this rat limbic status model these findings indicate that chronic seizures are associated with hippocampal neuron loss, reactive axon sprouting and increases in excitatory receptor plasticity that differ from rats with an equal frequency of kindled seizures and controls. The hippocampal pathological findings in the limbic status model are similar to those in humans with hippocampal sclerosis and mesial temporal lobe epilepsy, and support the hypothesis that synaptic reorganization of both excitatory and inhibitory systems in the fascia dentata is an important pathophysiological mechanism that probably contributes to or generates chronic limbic seizures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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